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1.  Activation of the Syk tyrosine kinase is insufficient for downstream signal transduction in B lymphocytes 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:16.
Immature B lymphocytes and certain B cell lymphomas undergo apoptotic cell death following activation of the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) signal transduction pathway. Several biochemical changes occur in response to BCR engagement, including activation of the Syk tyrosine kinase. Although Syk activation appears to be necessary for some downstream biochemical and cellular responses, the signaling events that precede Syk activation remain ill defined. In addition, the requirements for complete activation of the Syk-dependent signaling step remain to be elucidated.
A mutant form of Syk carrying a combination of a K395A substitution in the kinase domain and substitutions of three phenylalanines (3F) for the three C-terminal tyrosines was expressed in a murine B cell lymphoma cell line, BCL1.3B3 to interfere with normal Syk regulation as a means to examine the Syk activation step in BCR signaling. Introduction of this kinase-inactive mutant led to the constitutive activation of the endogenous wildtype Syk enzyme in the absence of receptor engagement through a 'dominant-positive' effect. Under these conditions, Syk kinase activation occurred in the absence of phosphorylation on Syk tyrosine residues. Although Syk appears to be required for BCR-induced apoptosis in several systems, no increase in spontaneous cell death was observed in these cells. Surprisingly, although the endogenous Syk kinase was enzymatically active, no enhancement in the phosphorylation of cytoplasmic proteins, including phospholipase Cγ2 (PLCγ2), a direct Syk target, was observed.
These data indicate that activation of Syk kinase enzymatic activity is insufficient for Syk-dependent signal transduction. This observation suggests that other events are required for efficient signaling. We speculate that localization of the active enzyme to a receptor complex specifically assembled for signal transduction may be the missing event.
PMCID: PMC139997  PMID: 12470302
2.  Flt3+ macrophage precursors commit sequentially to osteoclasts, dendritic cells and microglia 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:15.
Macrophages, osteoclasts, dendritic cells, and microglia are highly specialized cells that belong to the mononuclear phagocyte system. Functional and phenotypic heterogeneity within the mononuclear phagocyte system may reveal differentiation plasticity of a common progenitor, but developmental pathways leading to such diversity are still unclear.
Mouse bone marrow cells were expanded in vitro in the presence of Flt3-ligand (FL), yielding high numbers of non-adherent cells exhibiting immature monocyte characteristics. Cells expanded for 6 days, 8 days, or 11 days (day 6-FL, day 8-FL, and day 11-FL cells, respectively) exhibited constitutive potential towards macrophage differentiation. In contrast, they showed time-dependent potential towards osteoclast, dendritic, and microglia differentiation that was detected in day 6-, day 8-, and day 11-FL cells, in response to M-CSF and receptor activator of NFκB ligand (RANKL), granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating-factor (GM-CSF) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), and glial cell-conditioned medium (GCCM), respectively. Analysis of cell proliferation using the vital dye CFSE revealed homogenous growth in FL-stimulated cultures of bone marrow cells, demonstrating that changes in differential potential did not result from sequential outgrowth of specific precursors.
We propose that macrophages, osteoclasts, dendritic cells, and microglia may arise from expansion of common progenitors undergoing sequential differentiation commitment. This study also emphasizes differentiation plasticity within the mononuclear phagocyte system. Furthermore, selective massive cell production, as shown here, would greatly facilitate investigation of the clinical potential of dendritic cells and microglia.
PMCID: PMC134601  PMID: 12398794
3.  Increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and enhanced T cell responses after activation of human dendritic cells with IL-1 and CD40 ligand 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:14.
Various microbial, inflammatory and immune signals regulate the activation of dendritic cells (DC), determining their ability to interact with naïve T cells and to produce cytokines that direct T cell development. In particular, CD40L and IL-1 cooperatively activate DC to secrete high levels of IL-12. The immuno-stimulatory capacity of such DC is otherwise not well-defined prompting further characterization of the effects of IL-1 and family members on DC activation in comparison with other pro-inflammatory stimuli.
Human DC co-activated in vitro by CD40L and IL-1β expressed numerous cytokine genes including IL-12β, IL-23 p19, IL-1β, IL-1α, IL-1Ra, IL-10, IL-6, IL-18 and IFN-γ. These DC produced high levels of IL-12 protein and appeared capable of producing IFN-γ. Potent CD4+ and CD8+ T cell-stimulatory properties were acquired by DC under conditions that also induced IL-12. Notably, these DC induced rapid differentiation of fluMP-specific CD8+ T cells. Molecules related to IL-1β, like IL-1α, co-induced IL-12 secretion whereas IL-18 did not. Conversely, the inhibitor IL-1Ra, produced endogenously by DC curtailed IL-12 production in response to CD40L.
IL-1 and IL-1Ra play a biologically-relevant role in the positive and negative regulation of DC activation. In conjunction with CD40L, IL-1 sends a powerful activation signal to DC that could be distinguished from other modes of activation. This signal enables the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by DC, and enhances the differentiation of naïve T cells into effectors of type-1 cellular immune responses.
PMCID: PMC134468  PMID: 12385649
IL-1; CD40L; IL-12; IL-23; dendritic cells; human
4.  Decreased inducibility of TNF expression in lipid-loaded macrophages 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:13.
Inflammation and immune responses are considered to be very important in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Lipid accumulation in macrophages of the arterial intima is a characteristic feature of atherosclerosis which can influence the inflammatory potential of macrophages. We studied the effects of lipid loading on the regulation of TNF expression in human monocyte-derived macrophages.
In macrophages incubated with acetylated low density lipoprotein (ac-LDL) for 2 days, mRNA expression of TNF in cells stimulated with TNF decreased by 75%. In cell cultures stimulated over night with IL-1β, lipid loading decreased secretion of TNF into culture medium by 48%. These results suggest that lipid accumulation in macrophages makes them less responsive to inflammatory stimuli. Decreased basal activity and inducibility of transcription factor AP-1 was observed in lipid-loaded cells, suggesting a mechanism for the suppression of cytokine expression. NF-κB binding activity and inducibility were only marginally affected by ac-LDL. LDL and ac-LDL did not activate PPARγ. In contrast, oxidized LDL stimulated AP-1 and PPARγ but inhibited NF-κB, indicating that the effects of lipid loading with ac-LDL were not due to oxidation of lipids.
Accumulation of lipid, mainly cholesterol, results in down-regulation of TNF expression in macrophages. Since monocytes are known to be activated by cell adhesion, these results suggest that foam cells in atherosclerotic plaques may contribute less potently to an inflammatory reaction than newly arrived monocytes/macrophages.
PMCID: PMC130030  PMID: 12366867
5.  Stage-specific changes in fetal thymocyte proliferation during the CD4-8- to CD4+8+ transition in wild type, Rag1-/-, and Hoxa3,Pax1 mutant mice 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:12.
The function of the thymic microenvironment is to promote thymocyte maturation, in part via regulation of thymocyte proliferation and cell death. Defects in fetal thymic epithelial cell (TEC) development and function, and therefore in the formation of a functional microenvironment, can be caused either directly by TEC differentiation defects or indirectly by defective thymocyte maturation. In this paper we studied fetal thymocyte proliferation during the early transition from the CD3-4-8- (triple negative, TN) to CD4+8+ (double positive, DP) stages. We compared wild type mice with Rag1-/- mice and with Hoxa3+/-Pax1-/- compound mutant mice, which have blocks at different stages of thymocyte development.
Wild type fetal and adult thymus showed stage-specific differences in the proliferation profiles of developing thymocytes, with fetal stages showing generally higher levels of proliferation. The proliferation profile of fetal thymocytes from Rag1-/- mutants also had stage-specific increases in proliferation compared to wild type fetal thymocytes, in contrast to the lower proliferation previously reported for thymocytes from adult Rag1-/- mutants. We have previously shown that Hoxa3+/-Pax1-/- mice have abnormal fetal TEC development, resulting in increased apoptosis at the TN to DP transition and decreased DP cell numbers. Fetal thymocytes from Hoxa3+/-Pax1-/- compound mutants had increased proliferation, but fewer proliferating cells, at the DP stage. We also observed a decrease in the level of the cytokines IL-7 and SCF produced by Hoxa3+/-Pax1-/-TECs.
Our results indicate complex and stage-specific effects of abnormal TEC development on thymocyte proliferation.
PMCID: PMC130029  PMID: 12241558
6.  Increased expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, MCP-1, and MIP-1α by spinal perivascular macrophages during experimental allergic encephalomyelitis in rats 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:11.
T-cells extravasation and CNS parenchyma infiltration during autoimmune neurodegenerative disease can be evoked by local antigen presenting cells. Studying the chemoattracting potential of spinal perivascular macrophages (SPM) during experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), we observed numerous infiltrates of densely-packed mononuclear cells. Apart from the poor spatial and optical resolution, no differentiation between the resident SPM (mabs ED1+, ED2+) and the just recruited monocytes/macrophages (mab ED1+) was possible.
This is why we labeled SPM by injections of different fluoresecent dyes into the lateral cerebral ventricle before induction of active EAE. Within an additional experimental set EAE was induced by an intraperitoneal injection of T-cells specifically sensitized to myelin basic protein (MBP) and engineered to express the green fluorescent protein (GFP). In both experiments we observed a strong activation of SPM (mabs OX6+, SILK6+, CD40+, CD80+, CD86+) which was accompanied by a consistently increased expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and the chemokines MCP-1 and MIP-1α.
These observations indicate that SPM play a role in promoting lymphocyte extravasation.
PMCID: PMC126207  PMID: 12196270
7.  The κB transcriptional enhancer motif and signal sequences of V(D)J recombination are targets for the zinc finger protein HIVEP3/KRC: a site selection amplification binding study 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:10.
The ZAS family is composed of proteins that regulate transcription via specific gene regulatory elements. The amino-DNA binding domain (ZAS-N) and the carboxyl-DNA binding domain (ZAS-C) of a representative family member, named κB DNA binding and recognition component (KRC), were expressed as fusion proteins and their target DNA sequences were elucidated by site selection amplification binding assays, followed by cloning and DNA sequencing. The fusion proteins-selected DNA sequences were analyzed by the MEME and MAST computer programs to obtain consensus motifs and DNA elements bound by the ZAS domains.
Both fusion proteins selected sequences that were similar to the κB motif or the canonical elements of the V(D)J recombination signal sequences (RSS) from a pool of degenerate oligonucleotides. Specifically, the ZAS-N domain selected sequences similar to the canonical RSS nonamer, while ZAS-C domain selected sequences similar to the canonical RSS heptamer. In addition, both KRC fusion proteins selected oligonucleoties with sequences identical to heptamer and nonamer sequences within endogenous RSS.
The RSS are cis-acting DNA motifs which are essential for V(D)J recombination of antigen receptor genes. Due to its specific binding affinity for RSS and κB-like transcription enhancer motifs, we hypothesize that KRC may be involved in the regulation of V(D)J recombination.
PMCID: PMC122077  PMID: 12193271
8.  Flowcytometry – A rapid tool to correlate functional activities of human peripheral blood lymphocytes with their corresponding phenotypes after in vitro stimulation. 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:9.
While dealing with mixed in vitro lymphocyte cultures one is faced with the problem of relative contributions of different populations to the activity being studied. This is especially true in the controversy relating to the contributions of lymphocyte sub-populations to the Lymphokine Activated Killer (LAK) phenomenon. Flowcytometry can be used to highlight relative contributions of lymphocyte subpopulations towards LAK activity without resorting to difficult purification strategies. We set up long-term in vitro lymphocyte cultures, stimulated them with cytokines IL-2/IL-12, recorded their phenotypic changes and cytotoxic activity against U-937 tumor targets.
The results indicated that natural killer cells (NK) constituted the predominant proliferating cell population in the cytokine stimulatedcultures. Flowcytometric evidence revealed that CD56+ T cells contributed little to LAK activity against U937 target cells as compared to cells with NK phenotype which were predominantly responsible for spontaneous killing of the tumor targets. The two cytokines, IL-2 and IL-12, had an additive effect on cell proliferation and spontaneous cytotoxicity.
Flowcytometry can be used to rapidly delineate phenotypic changes in immune cells after stimulation and simultaneously correlate them with corresponding functional activity. This approach may find application as a initial screening tool for studying different types of cells in mixed cultures and their respective activities under stimulatory / inhibitory conditions.
PMCID: PMC122086  PMID: 12165101
9.  Polarized Th2 like cells, in the absence of Th0 cells, are responsible for lymphocyte produced IL-4 in high IgE-producer schistosomiasis patients 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:8.
Human resistance to re-infection with S. mansoni is correlated with high levels of anti-soluble adult worm antigens (SWAP) IgE. Although it has been shown that IL-4 and IL-5 are crucial in establishing IgE responses in vitro, the active in vivo production of these cytokines by T cells, and the degree of polarization of Th2 vs. Th0 in human schistosomiasis is not known. To address this question, we determined the frequency of IL-4 and IFN-γ or IL-5 and IL-2 producing lymphocytes from schistosomiasis patients with high or low levels of IgE anti-SWAP.
Our analysis showed that high and low IgE-producers responded equally to schistosomiasis antigens as determined by proliferation. Moreover, patients from both groups displayed similar percentages of circulating lymphocytes. However, high IgE-producers had an increased percentage of activated CD4+ T cells as compared to the low IgE-producers. Moreover, intracellular cytokine analysis, after short-term stimulation with anti-CD3/CD28 mAbs, showed that IgE high-producers display an increase in the percentage of T lymphocytes expressing IL-4 and IL-5 as compared to IgE low-responders. A coordinate control of the frequency of IL-4 and IL-5 producing lymphocytes in IgE high, but not IgE low-responders, was observed.
High IgE phenotype human schistosomiasis patients exhibit a coordinate regulation of IL-4 and IL-5 producing cells and the lymphocyte derived IL-4 comes from true polarized Th2 like cells, in the absence of measurable Th0 cells as measured by co-production of IL-4 and IFN-γ.
PMCID: PMC117775  PMID: 12100735
10.  IL-4 dependent alternatively-activated macrophages have a distinctive in vivo gene expression phenotype 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:7.
"Alternatively-activated" macrophages are found in Th2-mediated inflammatory settings such as nematode infection and allergic pulmonary inflammation. Due in part to a lack of markers, these cells have not been well characterized in vivo and their function remains unknown.
We have used murine macrophages elicited by nematode infection (NeMφ) as a source of in vivo derived alternatively activated macrophages. Using three distinct yet complementary molecular approaches we have established a gene expression profile of alternatively activated macrophages and identified macrophage genes that are regulated in vivo by IL-4. First, genes abundantly expressed were identified by an expressed sequence tag strategy. Second, an array of 1176 known mouse genes was screened for differential expression between NeMφ from wild type or IL-4 deficient mice. Third, a subtractive library was screened to identify novel IL-4 dependent macrophage genes. Differential expression was confirmed by real time RT-PCR analysis.
Our data demonstrate that alternatively activated macrophages generated in vivo have a gene expression profile distinct from any macrophage population described to date. Several of the genes we identified, including those most abundantly expressed, have not previously been associated with macrophages and thus this study provides unique new information regarding the phenotype of macrophages found in Th2-mediated, chronic inflammatory settings. Our data also provide additional in vivo evidence for parallels between the inflammatory processes involved in nematode infection and allergy.
PMCID: PMC117781  PMID: 12098359
11.  Activation of macrophages by silicones: phenotype and production of oxidant metabolites 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:6.
The effect of silicones on the immune function is not fully characterized. In clinical and experimental studies, immune alterations associated with silicone gel seem to be related to macrophage activation. In this work we examined in vivo, phenotypic and functional changes on peritoneal macrophages early (24 h or 48 h) and late (45 days) after the intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of dimethylpolysiloxane (DMPS) (silicone). We studied the expression of adhesion and co-stimulatory molecules and both the spontaneous and the stimulated production of reactive oxygen intermediates and nitric oxide (NO).
The results presented here demonstrate that the fluid compound DMPS induced a persistent cell recruitment at the site of the injection. Besides, cell activation was still evident 45 days after the silicone injection: activated macrophages exhibited an increased expression of adhesion (CD54 and CD44) and co-stimulatory molecules (CD86) and an enhanced production of oxidant metabolites and NO.
Silicones induced a persistent recruitment of leukocytes at the site of the injection and macrophage activation was still evident 45 days after the injection.
PMCID: PMC117237  PMID: 12095418
12.  Transcriptional response of human mast cells stimulated via the FcεRI and identification of mast cells as a source of IL-11 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:5.
In asthma and other allergic disorders, the activation of mast cells by IgE and antigen induces the cells to release histamine and other mediators of inflammation, as well as to produce certain cytokines and chemokines. To search for new mast cell products, we used complementary DNA microarrays to analyze gene expression in human umbilical cord blood-derived mast cells stimulated via the high-affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI).
One to two hours after FcεRI-dependent stimulation, more than 2,400 genes (about half of which are of unknown function) exhibited 2–200 fold changes in expression. The transcriptional program included changes in the expression of IL-11 and at least 30 other cytokines and chemokines. Human mast cells secreted 130–529 pg of IL-11/106 cells by 6 h after stimulation with anti-IgE.
Our initial analysis of the transcriptional program induced in in vitro-derived human mast cells stimulated via the FcεRI has identified many products that heretofore have not been associated with this cell type, but which may significantly influence mast cell function in IgE-associated host responses. We also have demonstrated that mast cells stimulated via the FcεRI can secrete IL-11. Based on the previously reported biological effects of IL-11, our results suggest that production of IL-11 may represent one link between IgE-dependent mast cell activation in subjects with allergic asthma and the development of a spectrum of structural changes in the airways of these individuals; such changes, collectively termed "airway remodeling," can constitute an important long term consequence of asthma.
PMCID: PMC116674  PMID: 12079505
13.  Efficient adenovirus-mediated gene transfer into primary T cells and thymocytes in a new coxsackie/adenovirus receptor transgenic model 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:4.
Gene transfer studies in primary T cells have suffered from the limitations of conventional viral transduction or transfection techniques. Replication-defective adenoviral vectors are an attractive alternative for gene delivery. However, naive lymphocytes are not readily susceptible to infection with adenoviruses due to insufficient expression of the coxsackie/adenovirus receptor.
To render T cells susceptible to adenoviral gene transfer, we have developed three new murine transgenic lines in which expression of the human coxsackie/adenovirus receptor (hCAR) with a truncated cytoplasmic domain (hCARΔcyt) is limited to thymocytes and lymphocytes under direction of a human CD2 mini-gene. hCARΔcyt.CD2 transgenic mice were crossed with DO11.10 T cell receptor transgenic mice (DO11.hCARΔcyt) to allow developmental studies in a defined, clonal T cell population. Expression of hCARΔcyt enabled adenoviral transduction of resting primary CD4+ T cells, differentiated effector T cells and thymocytes from DO11.hCARΔcyt with high efficiency. Expression of hCARΔcyt transgene did not perturb T cell development in these mice and adenoviral transduction of DO11.hCARΔcyt T cells did not alter their activation status, functional responses or differentiative potential. Adoptive transfer of the transduced T cells into normal recipients did not modify their physiologic localization.
The DO11.hCARΔcyt transgenic model thus allows efficient gene transfer in primary T cell populations and will be valuable for novel studies of T cell activation and differentiation.
PMCID: PMC113271  PMID: 12019030
14.  Auto-protective redox buffering systems in stimulated macrophages 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:3.
Macrophages, upon encounter with micro-organisms or stimulated by cytokines, produce various effector molecules aimed at destroying the foreign agents and protecting the organism. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) are front line molecules exerting strong cytotoxic activities against micro-organisms and many cells, including macrophages themselves. Using cells of the murine macrophage cell line (RAW 264.7) stimulated in vitro with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and/or interferon (IFN-γ), which induce strong endogenous NO production, we examined by which mechanisms a fraction of activated macrophages protect themselves from nitrosative stress and manage to escape destruction?
We observed that survivors (10–50% depending on the experiments) had acquired a resistant phenotype being capable to survive when further exposed in vitro to an apoptosis inducing dose of the NO donor compound DETA-NO. These cells expressed an increased steady-state levels of Mn SOD, CuZn SOD and catalase mRNA (130–200%), together with an increased activity of the corresponding enzymes. Intracellular concentration of glutathione was also increased (× 3.5 fold at 6 hours, still maintained × 5.2 fold at 48 hours). Neither mRNA for glutathione peroxydase, γ-glutamylcysteine synthase and glutathione reductase, nor thioredoxine and thioredoxine reductase, were significantly modified. Additional experiments in which RAW 264.7 cells were stimulated with LPS and/or IFN-γ in the presence of relatively specific inhibitors of both Mn and Cu/Zn SOD, aminotriazol (ATZ) catalase inhibitor and buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) glutathione inhibitor, showed that inhibiting LPS-induced up-regulation of intracellular redox buffering systems also prevented acquisition of the resistant phenotype.
Our data suggest a direct causal relationship between survival of a fraction of macrophages and a up-regulation of key sets of auto-protective intracellular redox buffering systems, occurring simultaneously with modulation of expression of apoptotic molecules of the Bcl2-Bcl-XL/Bax-Bad family.
PMCID: PMC102336  PMID: 11914132
15.  Enhanced immunogenicity of a functional enzyme by T cell epitope modification 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:2.
T helper epitopes are necessary for the induction of high titers of antigen-specific IgG antibodies. We are interested in the epitope modification of intact proteins as a method to enhance their immunogenicity for the generation of recombinant protein-based vaccines.
Hartley strain guinea pig T cell epitopes were mapped for two related bacterial proteases. Two T cell epitopes were found in one of the proteases, while a comparatively reduced immunogenicity protease had no detectable T cell epitopes. A T cell epitope sequence homologous to the immunogenic protease was created in the less immunogenic protease by changing a single amino acid. Proliferative responses to the whole protein parent enzyme were two-fold higher in splenocyte cultures from variant-immunized animals. We found that the single amino acid change in the variant resulted in a protein immunogen that induced higher titers of antigen-specific IgG antibody at low doses and at early time points during the immunization protocol. The serum from parent- and variant-immunized guinea pigs cross-reacted at both the protein and the peptide level. Finally, animals primed to the variant but boosted with the parent enzyme had higher levels of antigen-specific IgG than animals immunized with the parent enzyme alone.
With a single amino acid change we have introduced a T cell epitope into a comparatively low-immunogenic enzyme and have increased its immunogenicity while retaining the enzyme's original proteolytic function. The ability to immunomodulate proteins while leaving their function intact has important implication for the development of recombinant vaccines and protein-based therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC65700  PMID: 11869454
16.  Phorbol esters and CAMP differentially regulate the expression of CD4 and CD8 in human thymocytes 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:1.
Intrathymic development and selection of the T lymphocyte repertoire is restricted by the interactions of the T cell antigen receptor and CD4 or CD8 co-receptors with self major histocompatibility complex molecules. Positive or negative selection depends on a tight regulatory control of CD4 and CD8 expression. Determining the intracellular signals that differentially regulate the expression of CD4 and CD8 is important to understand the mechanisms that are implicated in selection of single positive CD4+CD8- or CD4-CD8+.
The present study shows that stimulation of human thymocytes by phorbol esters or cAMP result in a differential regulation of CD4 and CD8 expression, both at the mRNA and cell surface glycoprotein level.
The differential regulation of CD4 and CD8 gene expression suggests that the selective activation of protein kinase C (PKC) and cAMP-dependent protein kinases (PKA) may be required for the selection of single positive CD4+CD8- and CD4-CD8+ cells during Intrathymic differentiation
PMCID: PMC65519  PMID: 11835689

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